From a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to annoying problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a long trip only to find considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.